Catholic Italy

Day 1 - DEPART USA – Today, we depart our home airport to connect with our overnight flight to Rome aboard a wide-bodied jet. We enjoy in-flight movies, dinner, and breakfast while aloft.

DAY 2 - ROME – This morning, we arrive in Rome and are greeted by our Tour Manager as we transfer to our deluxe coach bus and enjoy a driving tour of her many sites, following a stop for lunch on our own, we conclude our day at one of the Catacombs, the burial places of early Christians. We celebrate Mass while here and view the 2nd and 3rd century fresco paintings. We then continue to our hotel for our “welcome” dinner and overnight at our hotel.

DAY 3 - VATICAN CITY/ROME/ALATRI/ROME - Today, we make our way to St. Peter's for an audience with Pope Francis (pending if he is in residence). After lunch on our own, we visit St. Paul’s Beyond the Walls. This huge, imposing Basilica, second only to St. Peter’s and one of the largest churches in the Christian world, contains an unusual gallery of papal portraits: 265 tablets portraying the popes of the past. We celebrate Mass here before we journey just south of Rome to the town of Alatri, where in 1228AD, a Eucharistic miracle happened. According to Vatican documents, a woman was asked to “steal” a host from her church by a sorceress who promised she could restore the woman’s lost love. As she received Holy Eucharist, she held it on the side of her mouth until she could remove it and place it in a handkerchief. When she reopened the handkerchief a few days later the host had been transformed to a piece of bleeding flesh! The blood-stained handkerchief remains protected in a reliquary at the Cathedral of St. Paul, the Apostle. We return to Rome for dinner and overnight at our hotel.

DAY 4 - VATICAN CITY/ROME - Following morning Mass at St. Peter's, we spend this morning viewing the treasures of the Vatican Museum. We marvel at Michelangelo's restored frescoes in the Sistine Chapel. Continue to St. Peter's Basilica to view the famous “Pieta”, as well as the famous Bernini alter columns, one Bernini engraved his own Rosary on and one contains the spear of St. Longinus, the roman centurion who pierced the side of our Savior, and was healed by the blood and water that flowed from it! This afternoon, following lunch on our own, we visit two of Rome’s major basilicas, St. John Lateran, and St. Mary Major. We conclude our day with a visit to St. Peter in Chains to view Michelangelo's possibly most celebrated sculpture, the "Moses". Dinner and overnight at our hotel.

DAY 5 - ROME/ORVIETO/ASSISI – Today, we have an early morning departure from Rome, as we travel north through the Umbrian countryside. We stop at Orvieto for a visit and Mass at the breathtaking Cathedral, which is known as the jewel of Italian architecture. Inside the Cathedral is the Chapel of the Corporal, which houses the chalice cloth involved in the Eucharistic Miracle, which occurred in nearby Bolsena. In the 1263AD, a pilgrim priest named Peter of Prague was celebrating Mass at the crypt of St. Christina. He was having a faith crisis concerning the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist and while speaking the words of the consecration, blood started to drip from the consecrated Host. Subsequently, the following year Pope Urban IV instituted the Feast of Corpus Christi. Following a stop for lunch on our own, we make a brief stop in the town of Perugia, just a short distance from Assisi. In the Cathedral Church of San Lorenzo, we find the reliquary containing the “Santo Anello” or Holy Ring of Mary. Tradition has it that this is the very ring St. Joseph placed on Our Lady the day of their wedding! We then continue to Assisi. Our first stop is in the lower town for a visit to the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels, and the Portiuncula, Francis' Church of the Little Portion. We thank St. Francis for two of his most notable gifts to humanity, the Nativity Scene and the Stations of the Cross. We then proceed to the hilltop village of Assisi for dinner and overnight at our hotel.

“Italy is such an extensive Catholic destination; the itinerary options are literally endless”